Last week when I shared 5 Prenatal Standards That I Refuse, the conversation, if I can call it that, got a little heated on social media and I hadn’t even mentioned the orange glucose drink yet. Some folks were up in arms that I would say no to my doctor about anything, apparently, or they didn’t read the post and assumed I said NO to everything.
Others echoed my sentiments, and still more were on the far end of the spectrum and had no medical care at all – no ultrasounds, no doctors, no tests of any kind. I see my own choices as slightly to one side of the middle, personally – a little closer to the “no medical intervention” side than the “do everything your doctor says without question” side. Clearly others didn’t agree!
Out of all that mess, which is both intriguing and exhausting to keep up with and participate in, I did realize that I forgot one important prenatal test that deserved mention: the glucose drink and blood test for gestational diabetes.
It’s at this point that I need to remind you that I’m just a mom telling my story. I don’t have any medical knowledge of any kind. You definitely should not listen to me or take any of this as medical advice. We’re just chatting about our own experiences, m’kay?
This is the second in a five-part series. Catch up here:
- 5 Standards we Refuse in the Womb
- 5 More Interventions we Refuse in Labor and Delivery
- Natural Parenting During the First Week
- Keep Baby Safe and Healthy with 5 Simple Natural Parenting Goals
I would never tell anyone that the test isn’t important, because gestational diabetes is a BIG deal and for sure something that needs to be known and addressed via a healthy, low-carb diet. Perhaps all pregnant women should eat more that way, my hunch says. All human beings, perhaps, but that’s another post entirely…
(top photo modified from lisasolonynko via MorgueFile)
Take heart – I have a list of my Top 10 Baby Steps to take as you move towards real food living. Whether you want to get healthy while pregnant or get your family turned around in their nutrition, you won’t want to miss it!
Here’s what I can tell you about the glucose test, strictly from my experience:
INGREDIENTS in the Orange Drink for the Glucose Test During Pregnancy
The ingredients in the glucose solution are nowhere near “real food” and have some quite nasty additives, some of which are not recommended for pregnant women. They may include:
- purified water, 50g Dextrose (D-glucose derived from corn), Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sodium Benzoate, 0.1%, FD&C Yellow #6. It also labeled as “Gluten Free & Dairy Free”. (source)
- Orange/Fruit Punch/Lemon Lime flavors: Dextrose from corn, Citric Acid from corn, Natural Flavoring (corn), Sodium Benzoate, Yellow #6, Purified Water (source)
- Simply Pure flavor: Dextrose from corn, Potassium Sorbate, Purified Water (source)
- Glucose syrup, maltodextrin, purified water, acidity control compound E330, preservative E211, cola aroma, foodstuff color E150, and carbonic acid. (source)
Do You Really Need a Sugar High During Pregnancy?
I felt mighty ill the whole day after having to chug the orange stuff during baby no. 3’s pregnancy, which was the first one after we were really, really eating real, traditional foods and I had weaned myself down to the point where I appreciated lightly sweetened foods and thought that mainstream, heavily sweetened desserts felt too rich, both in my mouth and in my belly.
That drink was a LOT of sugar at once for me!
Are There Alternatives to the Orange Glucose Test Drink For a Pregnancy Diabetes Test?
I did ask my OB about alternatives with baby no. 3. He said there weren’t any other than eating jelly beans (lots of them) which I assumed were probably just as bad as the orange glucose drink. (In hindsight, if I had used a naturally flavored and colored bag of jelly beans, they would have been preferable.)
I said that I had heard that you could just eat a breakfast of pancakes, syrup, etc. and make sure the nutritional content equaled the 50g of glucose. He said “not possible.” (I of course had “heard that on the Internet” from a reader and I do try to give professionals the benefit of the doubt sometimes…although I am more and more learning to be a conscious health consumer!)
The very next month after following doctor’s orders and enduring the nasty orange drink, my OB told me that another patient with food allergies had pressed further and he discovered that actually, I was dead on accurate with my questioning. This patient had eaten pancakes. (Sigh) So glad I had the orange stuff, right?
Weekly Pregnancy Updates
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Finally…Another Alternative for Glucose Testing (and I didn’t even have to go anywhere!)
(photo by Alisha Vargas via Flickr)
With this fourth pregnancy, I did want to make sure I was “safe” from GB. My diet is pretty darn good although not impeccable of course, and although my sweet tooth has been been toned down and appreciates dark chocolate more than M&Ms, it’s still quite a vocal force in my late-night snacking adventures!
My midwife told me I could just do some finger picks with a blood sugar monitor like those used by diabetics – some on waking (fasting) and some after high-carb meals. My mother-in-law is a diabetic and happily lent me her extra monitor. My levels were excellent, I didn’t have to waste an hour sitting at a lab, and I didn’t have to drink the awful orange stuff. I’m a very happy patient!!
Foods You Can Eat for the Gestational Diabetes Test in Pregnancy
If you’re looking for alternatives to the orange glucose drink for gestational diabetes testing in pregnancy, it sounds like there are also a myriad of foods you can eat and still have the regular blood draw. They potentially include (via my Internet medical degree, obviously ask your doctor to do his/her own research…and if you have a doctor unwilling to look into it…well…I finally have some strong opinions about that!):
- 20 oz. of a natural ginger ale
- 14 oz. of orange juice not from concentrate
- 10 oz. of cranberry juice
- 10 oz. of grape juice
- you could choose from this list to equal 50g as measured at the beginning of each line:
- (30) 6 oz Grape juice
- (15) Slice of bread
- (30) cup of cereal
- (20) banana
- (12) cup of milk
- (30) two slices of bread
- (40) 16 oz orange juice
- (40) 8 oz apple juice
- sources: 1, 2
Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?